On a day in which the weather was mild, the scoring was hot for the Florida men's golf team.
Three UF golfers made eagles during the first round of the NCAA Regional Championship in Kohler, Wisconsin.
Florida made short work of Blackwolf Run’s Meadow Valleys Course in the tournament’s opening round.
Navigating their way through the layout’s many meadows, creeks and ravines, the No. 7-ranked Gators carded 15 birdies as a team, with all five Florida players registering at least one.
With 36 holes left to play, the No. 3-seed Gators are tied at the top of the leaderboard with No. 12-seed Idaho at 5 under par.
The rest of the competition isn’t far behind, though.
No. 2-seed Florida State is only a shot behind at 4 under par, and No. 8-seed Kent State is five shots back at even par.
Although low numbers aren’t atypical for this Florida squad, the Gators’ source of scoring came from players not typically found at the top of the leaderboard.
“We had all five guys playing pretty nicely at one point,” UF coach J.C. Deacon said in a release.
“We let a few slip away down the stretch, but overall, it was a nice start.”
Junior Ryan Orr had the best start of any Florida player in Round 1.
After a quick birdie on the par-3 third, Orr got on a roll with a birdie on the par-4 fifth followed by an eagle on the par-5 seventh — a 4-under, bogey-free front nine.
After a 2-over back nine, Orr posted a 2-under 70 to rest in a tie for fifth place.
Orr hasn’t had a top-five finish since the Sea Best Invitational back in February.
Alejandro Tosti had the Gators’ final eagle of the day — a 3 on the par-5 11th.
The sophomore was 4 under par with one hole to play until a disastrous double bogey put a damper on his round.
Tosti netted a 2-under 70 and is also in a tie for fifth.
Orr and Tosti are only a shot back of a four-way tie for first at 3 under.
Jorge Garcia posted a 1-under 71 at the end of Day 1 — his best round in over a month — and is in a tie for 11th.
Sam Horsfield — the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year and arguably the Gators’ best player — was the fourth and final UF player in the top 20.
Horsfield finished the 17th hole with a double bogey on his way to an even-par 72 and is in a tie for 16th.
Gordon Neale limped into the clubhouse with four bogeys on the back nine to shoot a 3-over 75.
Neale is well back in a tie for 55th.
The Gators will enter the second round more motivated than ever.
Florida is searching for its first regional title since 2011, and a victory Wednesday would give the Gators their sixth title in program history.
“I think the guys are pretty hungry to get back out there,” Deacon said. “They want to get back out there and get after it.”
Contact Ray Boone at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @rboone1994.
Ryan Orr swings during Day 1 of the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 14, 2015, at the Mark Bostick Golf Course.